Come Yew In!’ is a free outdoor theatre project celebrating 700 years of migration to the city of Norwich. It will be a high-paced historical and contemporary pastiche of original dance, song, comedy, audience participation and pathos.
The premier of ‘Come Yew In!’ will be at Heigham Park on 30th June and will culminate in a weekend at the Whiffler Theatre for the Lord Mayor’s celebration weekend in July 2017. The intention is to go on to a 10 date tour of open spaces across the city, aiming to reach a Norwich audience of at least 3000 people. A special ‘Gala performance’ may also be arranged to be a part of the Freemen 700 celebrations.
The ‘Come Yew In!’ Research Community is currently gathering stories, interviews and archival materials covering Norwich’s ‘long’ history of migration, including: The Freemen of Norwich; the story of the change brought by the Flemish weavers, or ‘Strangers’; the development of Jewish, Huguenot and Italian communities; the Kindertransport; and contemporary stories of migration from Eastern Europe, the Congo, Zimbabwe, Chile and Syria. A selection of these research stories will become the creative material for the show. The research phase of the project runs from December 2016-March 2017.
In her role as research consultant, Dr Jeannette Baxter is responsible for: defining the ‘Come Yew In!’ project’s research parameters; building and leading a local research community; mentoring a research assistant from New Routes Integration Project; evaluating the research outcomes of the project; liaising with local schools and colleges; and project management support.
- To learn how the prosperity and flavour of modern-day Norwich has developed under the influence of migrants or ‘strangers’
- To develop and enhance understanding of modern-day migration to the city of Norwich
- To support tolerance and social cohesion by building positive images and new connections among people of different backgrounds
Born in Norwich, Nicky Turner has spent many years being an incomer herself, living, studying and working in Sheffield and France and traveling and working in Central and South America. She is a teacher of languages and believes in creative and challenging communication; hence her involvement in community based theatre companies in France and Norwich. Nicky has fought against inequality and stereotyping and racism all her adult life and believes that positive, challenging and entertaining theatre such as CYI will help restore some of the beauty to this rather muddied world and make people think just that bit more. She adopted her daughter from Nepal 10 years ago; the best thing she ever did.
My research has consisted of recording testaments from my ESOL learners and foreign friends about what everyday life is like for a foreigner in Norwich. Some have been very moving and it is clear that there is not one story to be told. Many feel very welcome and others have been spat at and told to ‘go home’ publicly in supermarkets. I was also interested in the effect of Brexit on these people and, quite by chance, I have discovered a varied and surprising vein of unusual places of worship throughout the city.
Angie Joel‘s life began in Gorleston, Gt Yarmouth, where art school helped Angie spread her wings. Except for a year and a half in Scotland and an Israeli kibbutz she has lived in Norwich ever since. Here she had two sons, made shedloads of friends and studied a BA in English Literature and an MA in Environmental Sciences and Humanities, both at UEA. She worked as a researcher at Anglia Multimedia, but for the past decade she has worked in education, currently as Sixth Form Coordinator at Wymondham College.
I am focusing my research for CYI on the Kindertransport, which I knew nothing about until working on this production. In 1939, weeks before WWII broke out, Hitler allowed 10,000 Jewish children to depart from Germany by train, bound for safety in the UK. Those children had no idea that they were most likely not to see their parents again. 90 children came to Norwich on the Kindertransport, yet I have discovered a notable Kinder who grew up in this country before arriving in Norwich and making notable contributions to the city.
Anna Magyar considers herself to be an ethnographer and linguist, through which she has pursued her curiosity about how people see and experience the world. As a linguist, she has been a freelance translator and second language teacher, including English as a second language and has taught on second language related courses for Open University and UEA. As an ethnographer, she has been involved in educational research projects focusing on widening participation and international students. She currently supervises doctoral students at UEA and runs a research writing programme for academics, teachers and development workers in developing countries.
As a child of holocaust survivors and then refugees from the 1956 Hungarian uprising, the plight of people fleeing persecution and violence has always touched a nerve. I am so happy to have the opportunity to be involved in this project. I am researching Italian immigration to Norwich in the 19th and early 20th century, in particular, Ber Street’s ‘Little Italy’. I will also be transcribing the interviews that are conducted for the project
Bert Eke was born in 1965 and raised on the Suffolk side of the Norfolk border; he moved to Norwich to work in early 1985. Now driving for a wholefoods wholesaler, Bert has previously earned a crust as a medical photographer and street performer. Freelance photography/videography is still a sideline when the commission is suitably intriguing. Having married an ‘incomer’ (French) four summers ago, he finds the current UK political climate to be more than a little concerning.
My researchs is taking the form of street interviews with the public, gathering contemporary opinions and attitudes towards people coming into Norwich to live and work.
Deborah Lawrence is an unusual woman who went to Rose Bruford College, in her forties, where she studied a BA in European Theatre Arts. Now back in Norfolk she has found a talent for writing and spoken word, devised theatre and directing anything but traffic. Particularly drawn to the European model of ensemble, poor theatre and postmodernism, she is in the process of founding FAKE ID theatre Lab. This will be a collaborative, creative outlet for artists of multi discipline to create work around notions of identity. Deborah’s work is both funny, provocative and often not for the faint hearted.
During this research I’ve been drawn to look at the early settlers such as the Dutch and French weavers and how they were accepted or not by the people and governing body of Norwich. This has led to some interesting discoveries such as the failed uprising against the strangers which resulted in harsh punishment for the perpetrators, showing Norwich would not tolerate xenophobia. It also draws links to present day with the petrol bombing of the Romanian shop on Magdalen street where the Norwich folk came together, very quickly, to make amends, sending the same message to the bigots and racists.
Eileen Mulvaney has followed a non conformist path which is scant surprise that she is now looking at this element for the Common Lot and Anglia Ruskin shared project. She holds with the idea that within every NC (non conformist) there’s a Conformist trying to get out. And vice versa. She has three children and together they did a lot of travelling living in Spain, Turkey, India, the Emirates, and Norfolk. This did involve conforming to work in order to do so but it was an erratic career path. She is on her local parish council and was formerly on the Farmshare Board. She comes alive when being creative and falters when trawling meaningless paperwork. She has worked as teacher therapist dancer and gardener.
Kev O’Connor is 65 years old and has lived in Norwich for 42 of those years. When he first moved to Norwich he was a high school teacher but since 1985 he has worked in local junior schools up to his recent retirement. He also works as a music deejay and is a qualified football coach.
I love Norwich and want it to continue to be a city that welcomes newcomers. As a member of The Common Lot I believe that high quality theatre and memorable entertainment can make strong contributions to feelings of solidarity and inclusion. I am researching the story of the Jewish community in Norwich in the early Middle Ages.
Kev Vingoe has lived in Norfolk for twenty years where he works as a Nurse. He has always been fascinated by the uniqueness of Norfolk and its culture. He recently joined The Common Lot theatre company where he has found a new world of opportunity for his very long hidden talents.
I am researching the experience and contribution that Nurses from the EU have made to care provision in Norfolk. I’m intrigued by the patient and carer relationship, and particularly how carers respond to Norfolk culture, local dialect and Norfolk euphemisms.
Simon Floyd has been a local director producer and performer for over 30 years. He is co- founder member of Crude Apache and current Director of The Common Lot. He has starred in many shows over the years – from a highly regarded One Man Macbeth to large scale self-penned community performances celebrating events and characters in Norfolk’s History. Recent other work includes Midsummer Nights Dream with the RSC, street performances at the Out There Festival with Stuff and Things, lead performer for the Voice Project and an unruly host of the smash hit Egg Cafe for Norfolk and Norwich Festival.
I have been researching the Norwich Freemen and an amazing Italian woman called Black Anna, who sang her way through 40 years as the welcome-all landlady of the Jolly Butchers on Ber Street. I am leading this project because I believe it is necessary in uncertain, potentially dangerous times. I believe wholly and completely in what theatre can do to change the world for the better – especially when it is free and accessible to all.
Siobhan O’Connor is a member of The Common Lot. She has lived in Norwich for most of her life and she teaches English at Wymondham High School. She’s really excited to be involved in this project because she loves stories and thinks there are some great ones to uncover and tell here. Also, if ever we needed a piece of theatre that celebrates Norwich as a city of incomers it is now.
My research focuses on a) the Chilean refugees who came to Norwich in the 1970s and b) the arson attack in 2016 on a Romanian grocery shop in Magdalen street and the response to it.
Xav Mathey is a retired French mechanical engineer. An inquisitive mind with an eclectic range of interests, he avidly reads about linguistics, politics, history, economics, and sciences in general. Having moved countries several times in his life before moving to Norwich at the end of 2015, he has first hand knowledge of what it is to be a stranger, an incomer. He has a passion for music, languages, and other cultures and particularly enjoys exploring the linguistic evolutions triggered by population movements.
Interested in the professional skills of migrants, I started my research with the trade of clock and watchmaking, where newly arrived German speakers apparently thrived. I then came across interesting documents mentioning the linguistic impact of different migration movements. The language legacy of migrants specific to Norwich and Norfolk has aroused my interest. More specifically, I am looking into Norfolk dialect and place names.
Achini Weerasingha was born in Sri Lanka in 1996. She and her family moved to England in 2009. She is part of the New Routes community and research assistant on The Come Yew In project. Achini enjoys working with everyone, and says they are a very welcoming group of people. She is also learning more about the migration communities within Norwich.
In my role as research assistant on the Come Yew In project, I am responsible for:
• Helping Jeannette with designing research questions.
• Managing research materials on drop box.
• Producing the Come Yew In dossier.
• Providing Jeannette with research support.
• Liaising with the community of researchers.
• Assisting with research publications
James McDermott is a Norfolk based writer performer. He trained at The University of East Anglia where he graduated with First Class BA Hons in Scriptwriting & Performance and a Masters (Distinction) in Scriptwriting. James has taken part in writers’ development programs with Soho Theatre, HighTide and BFI. His short plays have been staged at HighTide Festival, Southwark Playhouse and Latitude. Last year James’s first full length play Rubber Ring played to rave reviews at The Pleasance Islington and this year transfers to The Tristan Bates Theatre prior to a national tour.
Mags Chalcraft-Islam was brought up in Norfolk. She’s lived and worked in London, Paris, Jerusalem, Edinburgh and Reunion. Until recently Mags combined teaching English to migrants and refugees with writing scripts, bringing up two kids and studying at UEA. She’s currently doing a playwriting PhD focusing on women and slavery in 19th century London. Mags write about cultural encounters: about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary political situations. Her play Tunnel, set in Palestine, was produced at the Brighton festival in 2013. She also enjoys film and TV, nature and walking, swimming in wild places, singing, art, sewing, eating and drinking. Mags lives in Norwich with her husband and Desmond Tutu (the cat).
Liam Offord is one of three writers on the project. He is an incomer himself, having arrived in Norwich in 2013 to study English at the University of East Anglia. After living in the South Coast, he fell in love with Norwich – and never wants to leave! Currently undertaking a Master’s degree in Scriptwriting, Liam is working towards a career as a professional writer. In the meantime, he is making progress in his other long-term goal – drinking quite a lot of beer in every pub he can find. He hopes to see you there.